tv Up W Chris Hayes MSNBC January 15, 2012 5:00am-7:00am PST
ld card. so we can accumulate as many points as possible. i pass on these points to my employees to go on trips with their families. when my employees are happy, my customers are happy. vo: earn points for the things you're already buying. call 1-800-now-open to find out how the gold card can serve your business. hello from new york. i'm chris hayes. third person has been found alive inside that overturned cruise ship off the coast of italy. at least three people died. the captain is under arrest. the south carolina primary six days away jon huntsman picked up a key endorsement from the state. south carolina's largest newspaper. right now joining me today we have jack abramoff, the author of "capital punishment hard
truth about washington corruption from america's most notorious lobbyists." katrina, my boss at the nation magazine where she's editor and publisher and more of "change i believe in fighting for progress in the age of obama." senator wral candidate joe sestak, retired from the navy of a three star admiral. and now distinguished senior fellow at the u.s. think tank. it is great to have you all here. all right. let's start with the elephant in the room, mr. abramoff. i want to tell you, we have had an editorial discussion of my staff whether to have you on the show. at first i thought? one doesn't become credible because they start saying things you agree with. right? there is a broken clock aspect. why should people listen to you? why are you a credible
messenger? there is a narrative of you were in the thick of and it reformed now but what's to stop you from thinking that you are essentially just kind of relaunching the jack abramoff band here? lobbing yourself as a client. >> i don't know what relaunching my brand would be. i'm not going to become a lobbyist again. i don't think i will be taking over your chair in the show. >> you never know. we'll see. >> you know, was i credible? was any the rooms i was in? did i hear the things i heard? did i write about them? people have to draw their own conclusions. what i try to do in the book is present things that happened in washington, that happened to me, and i did for right or wrong. at least that america should know what actually goes on in there at least some of what goes on in there. in an effort perhaps for them to do something. it is not something i'm going do something about. i'm going to try to help. i'm pot going to be a lobbyist whether it is a good cause or bad cause. that's the effort behind the book. in terms of relaunching myself, i'm not quite sure as what.
i think the international heaped upon me was sufficient that it would take years of digging out with a shovel to even try it. and frankly, i don't -- i don't think that's what i'm into. and interested in doing. >> are there things in the book -- the book, i have to say, is quite engaging, compelling. you are a very good writer if you wrote this. i wonder are there things you left out book that you -- didn't want to put in because they would be too explosive or too toxic? >> what i did was i didn't put certain things in the book if i didn't have absolute proof and i can back them up. i figured that some of the people i talked about in the book might, frankly, sue me or attack the book in a way i couldn't defend it. so i did hold back on certain things i knew and that probably are explosive that i didn't want to cross lines. i wanted to try to stay within the lines i could defend. >> i want to talk about your career in washington as lobbyists. first i want to talk about your career before that. because you were part of the reagan revolution a young
republican. there's a chapter of that life that i want to talk about. you don't talk about it very much. it is not in the book. we have a clip from "casino jack," a bizarre moment. there was a summit in africa, a freedom fighter fighting against the communists but later accused of horrible war skrims and initiate the blyth to the war. an international summit on behalf of him. >> it was than on behalf of him. it was a meeting of the different anti-soviet groups that were around the world. he just happened to be in the place we held it in -- angola. >> here is a clip so you can see somewhat surreal image from the film casino jack. take a look. >> the new right people like him and one of the reasons was he seems to embrace their ideology. the whole thing. all the free market stuff and all the sort of paranoid anti-communism and they were like -- this dude is one of us. >> democracy versus communism
and that's why we work with unsavory characters. >> dana rorbacher, a young anti-communist republicans. do you have regrets about that chapter in your life in terms of who you applied yourself with amidst this vision of battling communism? >> well, i think that people on the right and the left at times wind up in business with people they regret they are in business with. a lot of the people in business with me regret that they were in business with me. but things that came out later if true or -- true were on horrific and terrible. people on the left that things come out about as well. one of the risks one has in playing in the political game you are trying to promote a certain ideology and some of the characters who are perhaps on your side are rather unsavory. in terms of that meeting, i don't regret that meeting. it was an effort to put together those forces fighting the soviets and in various third
world nations who were -- ultimately had no coordination versus the soviet forces under the auspices of the plo and every year it came together to share tactics and strategies. it was not my idea for the meeting a fellow named jack wheeler. i thought it because a great idea. i'm happy we did it and they coordinated the best they could. >> coordination and then move on to another topic. i want to ask you about this. this strikes me as one of the most important things. there is an organization that you -- the apartheid government was involved in all of this. in south africa. they were mill tanly anti-communists and they were funding, this is documented. they were funding some of the anti-communist forces in -- africa. you started an organization called the international freedom foundation. it had your name on it. the head of it. there was a report in news day in 1996 by a pulitzer prize winning reporter that says this organization was funded with military money from the apartheid government and the mission was to resuscitate the image of an apartheid government
that was increasingly under public opinion in the pressure of campus leftists arguing -- i want to you address that episode head-on because it is a really troubling one. that government is -- to us, we think in what back one of the most morally odious in recent memory. if you were running an organization funded by the military intelligence that seems like problematic. >> that would be. i mean, first of all, i didn't start the organization. i was asked to be the chairman at the beginning. i was already making movies. regrettable -- >> we will show a clip of one of them. >> right. first time it has been shown on television ever. they came to me headed under the rupert that this was called the international freedom foundation. it was to oppose regimes around the world by the wing including the south africans, south africans involved. who were anti-freedom. primarily the soviet union which was more active in those days. the group itself came out against the apartheid and release of nelson mandela early
on. now, this was a group promoting the agenda the government of south africa ultimately they were obviously on the other side. now, when i was chairman of the group, i was not an active chairman but did meet the people who purportedly were the donors and they were more liberal elements within the business community of south africa. after i left, it came out they were accepting money from the government of south africa in their south african branch and i didn't know anything about that, if it was true i would have condemned it at the time. if i had known about it and quit the organization. so it was not at no point did i myself was i involved knowingly and in a group doing that. if they were doing it, shame on them. >> you were not a supporter of that jet stream. >> no, no. we came out against the -- by the way, when we came out against the apartheid and against -- for freeing nelson mandela it wasn't something that everybody all over the places in agreement with. we were attack bid the right. i was already a conservative leader as it were. i was attacked by friends on the right that how dare i come out and hurt an anti-communist
government. and my point was apartheid, nelson mandela should not be in prison. this is absurd. that was the actual history. it was reported differently. unfortunately i found that some things in the media aren't reported accurately. unfortunately hi to deal with some of it. but that's the case with this one. >> we will talk about your later career and book after we take this break. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic. for 80 years, we've been inspired by you. and we've been honored to walk with you to help you get where you want to be. ♪ because your moment is now. let nothing stand in your way. learn more at keller.edu.
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"red scorpion." >> that was a clip from "red scorpion" produced and co-written by my guest, jack abramoff. people know the most about your career, lobbyist. talk about the system being fundamentally corrupt. one of the things i want to talk to you about is your diagnosis of why the corruption is there. what is it to the extent that jack abramoff was able to thrive in this system, what were the conditions that made that possible? >> well, i think that the conditions that made it possible for me to thrive and people who have played like i did as opposed to the normal lobbyists, you know, who is out there just trying to permit the merits of their case in a way that it is legitimate to congressmen is the introduction of money. frankly i call bribery in the system which is the conveyance from lobbyists who are clients of financial benefits to members
of congress or other public servants. that's what gave me and the team that worked for me and scores of others access that's not normal and enabled us to be in the room to convince them of the rightness of our cause. >> there's sort of two aspects. there's the kind of trinkets that, box seat at -- redskins game and there's the dinner at signatures and restaurant, washington d.c. then there's the -- campaign donations. which of those are more corrupt? >> they are both corrupteding in a different way. the campaign contributions is a senate -- frankly for lobbyists trying to gain a certain level of access to members of congress. members of congress have to get re-elected and leadership tells them that to get re-elected and that's what it is all about for them. pay off their debts. lobbyists are there with checks in hand so a member of congress' day is taken up 24 hours, taken up every minute. any time that you can free up
part of the day, meaning they don't have to raise money somewhere else, you are a benefit to them and gain access and will listen to you. that's why contributions are very important there. in terms of the trinkets and all of the rest of it, that place particularly with the staff, meals, golf, travel, all the rest, gives you access to them and creates a friendship with them so that when the time comes you have to talk to them, they don't want to do something to hurt their friends. playing off of the fact human beings, normal human beings, are grateful for good things that happened to them. >> interesting when i left the navy after 30 years and went to congress, and those who went to certain committees, were those that had most gained and raised money for the parties. if you wanted to be on the energy and commerce appropriations financial services commit why you, it was not the heft of your background that you brought, it was how much you raised. for example i was a freshman and wanted to be on the small business committee. they create 80% of all jobs in america. i not only got it but i got
elected as vice chairman. i thought congress wanted to show i had a sense of humor. it wasn't that. there's no pac money on the home for small businesses. so who wants to go there? there is a magnet to go where money goes. access which isn't wrong. it is the undue influence because you know that money has come from somewhere. >> one of the things that happens money in politics in congress, political scientists will say there is literature that says money does not affect outcomes. i had this conversation with political scientists and they will say that we -- you know, a bunch of studies and money does not affect outcomes. what's your response? >> i think it is nonsense. it is ridiculous. look, any time you do something for somebody else, deep inside them, if they are a normal person, not some psychotic, deep inside them they are going to start feeling gratitude. the moment that -- by the way, we want them in society in general. we want people to be able to -- >> or elect psychopaths to congress.
>> some would argue we have. knock on certain exceptionings, of course. you know, we want in society -- we want to give and get, we want to get along with each other not when you are a public server. the minute that starts and you are a public servant it is bribery. it is impolite, i'm being attacked to crazy. that's what it is. that's the problem. >> you know. >> please. >> i did a piece of john boehner back in the '90s and found out he was actually handing out checks from tobacco pacs to members of congress on the floor while the house was in session. what i was never automobile to find out -- >> while smoking a cigarette. >> exactly. what i was never able to find was -- what made him feel so comfortable doing that at the time and was this just abrenthot behavior or was this normal? >> saying look, i'm chairman of the committee and up can't believe you vice president given me money. you want something, where are you? there is an arrogance that sets
in not with everybody up there but with certain of them they just don't care. they feel they are above the law and there isn't a law. basically this is accepted behavior and that's the problem in washington, this is accepted behavior. that has to change. >> it can also have a real undue influence on taking a strong position. for example, i was brand-new congressman and this group called c.a.r.e., relationships between the muslim community and -- other countries and americans. placed on my schedule. i didn't even know it. it hit the internet. boy, everyone from the majority leader and everyone says you can't go and talk to them. but some of them were in my district. u.s. citizens. i went and spoke. when i looked at those who did not agree with speaking with them, the impact in my following election was well over $500,000 and would not come from those -- the position at least let's talk with them and -- >> you were cut off from money, you are say sxwlg without a question. because have you taken a certain position and so this is enhanced with talk shows.
and the internet. and you take a strong position and, man, kit really have a big impact upon you. so i think that is part of the self-protection or self-survivaling that unfortunately influences our politicians and while you can add to the deadlock that's down there. >> you have some -- you have sensible -- even radical proposals. people in congress should not go through the revolving door and lobby. this book in your journey of repentance and trying to delink from your unsavory background, are you going to go on the road? are you going to take this to the country? are you going to be speaking out and go to washington and be a prophet unarmed, disarmed, forearmed for these ideas? what is the plan here in addition to publishing -- >> i'm working with the reform groups. many of the groups -- the most critical of me and -- bashed me the most, i reached out to them. i'm trying to help them organize themselves to get something passed. ultimately if something doesn't get passed it doesn't mean
anything. i was very much when i was a lobbyist bottom-line guy. how do i get something done instead of trying to do that and trying to speak on college campuses or anywhere i can, frankly to let people know what goes on there. speak it bluntly with truth saying look, this is bribery. okay. call it what you want. this is what it is. we have to do something about it. >> talk more with jack abramoff right after this. [ male announcer ] wouldn't it be cool if you took the top down on a crossover? if there were buttons for this? wouldn't it be cool if your car could handle the kids... ♪ ...and the nurburgring? or what if you built a car in tennessee that could change the world? yeah, that would be cool. nissan. innovation for today. innovation for tomorrow. innovation for all. ♪
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you are a free-market conservative from your youth and you went in and you worked in government making government bigger and oftentimes making government bigger and sometimes making it smaller. >> i never worked in the government. >> no, no. as a lobbyist. >> i worked on the government. i don't think there's -- a lot of times there wasn't a ton of ideological commit whamt you were doing. you sort wrf on one side. but in terms of fidelity in the free enterprise system have you an argument in the book big government is the problem produces this system of corruption. you say that senator drops a -- frame on his foot and wants to regulate picture frames and then that becomes a political battle and then legislators have to regulate it. and it strikes me as self-serving that to basically have a system in which you think government is not good and corruptible and that go into lobbying and corrupt it. then come out on the other side and look, government is totally corruptible and corrupt. we should shrink it.
there -- it is striking to me there is no part of this journey you have been on that it made you think about what your ideological priors were beforehand. >> well, i don't think that my desire to have less government is necessarily inconsistent with where i'm holding right now. if anything, i lived under the auspices of the governor for 43 months entirely under socialized medicine and everything else in prison. it showed me, frankly, that -- even more that i don't believe that government necessarily can offer good solutions to things. but -- >> prison serviceses are a different thing. i agree. continue. >> when -- i think it is hard to argue that the expansion of the federal involvement of our lives, lobbyists love it when there are new programs. that's the point make in my book is which the expansion of the federal government has created a reason for why there are 30,000 lobbyists. >> i think it is really important not to lose sight of the way that norms work. because the fact is we have a
comparative set. we can look at countries and look at how much regulation and government there are in those countri countries go to transparency international and see who is ranked as most corrupt. countries at the top are countries with much larger shares of gdp as government in the united states. scandinavian countries. it is not the case regulation per se increase of government per se. produces a corrupt system. the norms matter. the norms in a culture matter and -- to the -- you were part of destroying those norms, there's some person am responsibility. >> let me address first the point and then get to the pejorative. in terms of the -- one could theoretically have an expanding government without corruption. you see that in some of the countries where the culture is more aligned to the more nanny state mentality. whether it is -- a function of america or whether it is a function of the entrepreneurial aspect of lobbyists or whatever it is, probably a lot of it is along the rules we had versus the rules they have in terms of some of the interacting
lobbyists. i can't see how you can look at the creation of new programs. and not say that it is going to at least in general create more business for lobbyists. >> there's money in the bank and that made me steal it. i talked to a group of 70 naval officers the other day. i said, you know, i was a congressman. the chief of naval operations was actually a lobbyist for special interests that didn't want his pie to shrink. you said earlier, lobbyists aren't bad necessarily. it is the money that -- influence. fix the issue with public financing of campaigns. don't take government creates the problem. >> i think, first of all, again, i don't know maybe if i'm doing the math wrong but -- it -- as a former lobbyist i'm just telling you how lobbyists think. when you see a new program and you are a lobbyist you are thinking how can i get some of that program. by the way, there are lobbyists that don't think that way but, unfortunately, they are not successful lobbyists in this system which is part of the problem of the system. >> at the root of this is what
your former colleague did unsavory things in your -- according to your book. he wants to drown government in the bathtub. what you are also talking about here is part of the problem in exposing the kind of work you do leads to cynicism and anger on the part of millions of americans rightly so because they feel government is rigged against them. the fight needs to be to reclaim government, reclaim it for the people, strip the money out of it, and find a way so it works for the common good and leave people with the idea they can make change. you fight -- i hope your revelations of -- >> that's a perfect segue. for the story of the week i want to get to next which is about a legislative fight happening on capitol hill right now. believe me, there's lots of lobbying going on around. my story of the week right after this. [ male announcer ] meet lafayette. we asked him to be part of an experiment to prove that febreze air effects can eliminate tough cooking odors. [ moderator ] take a deep breath
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story of the week, on capitol hill some of america's biggest industries are waging an epic battle over the future of the internet and the future of american commerce with big money and long lasting implications. the founder of google said in the legislation it would put us on a par with the most oppressive nations in the world. dozens of international human rights organizations wrote that it, quote, sends an unequivocal message to other nations that it is acceptable to censure speech on global meat and circumvention technology may be used to access information under repressive internet regimes would be outlawed. prominent constitutional scholar learns tribes legislation will lead to the silencing of a vast swath of phone fully protected speech into the shutdown of sites that have not been violated any copyright or trademark laws. large tech companies like google, facebook, ebay, yahoo, are so opposed to legislation that there have been talk of shutting down their sites as a day of active protest. battle lines drawn confound almost every traditional political category.
on the side in favor of the legislation, you have al franken and john conyers lined up with tea party republican, chamber of commerce and afl-cio while opposing legislation have you nancy pelosi and michele bachmann and justin bieber. perhaps most remarkable is that while this epic battle wages while money pours into lobbying, most americans have absolutely no idea it is going on. a report from media matters surveyed all the major networks and cable networks, prime time coverage, this one included, found exactly zero coverage of the legislation with the exception of a single segment on cnn. the company i work for, nbc universal is not neutral in the legislative vow. they are very, very supportive of the house's stop online piracy act and counterpart. we will be hearing from an nbc representative in a moment. you can get a sense of how my employer feels from this mug sitting in my office kitchen, "steal this mug." it says cheaply but not our content. stealing or more precisely piracy is the problem it attempts to solve.
as a copyright holder myself someone that creates intellectual properties such as it is for a living, i'm not in the information needs to be free techno king. the problem is that sites devoted to massive file sharing of copyrighted works are smart enough to headquarter themselves in countries with loose jurisdiction so the solution this legislation proposes is effectively to make third party intermediaries search engines, internet service providers, enforcers of copyright. facebook and google and twitter would have to zealously copyright. up to and including being shut down and access to credit card processing companies cut off. think about it this way. what the u.s. government was able to do to wikileaks, private parties would be able do to each other with the help of courts. individuals who stream copyrighted material could face criminal prosecution and prison
time. and if you don't think this applies to you at all think again. ever uploaded a youtube video, a video of your kids birthday party where you sing happy birthday? ♪ happy birthday to you ♪ happy birthday to you that right there with the squirming kids is, in fact a copyright violation. copyright for "happy birthday" is fiercely protected. that's why you rare lly hear it sung in movies. under the legislation it is very unlikely that that family there would be prosecuted. the deeper problem is computers and internet are one biggie copyright infringement innocence. files can be copied and technology continues to outpace attempts to squash it. the technical train structure of the internet is complicated. sometimes it is democracy are atizing can be oversold. the fact remains over the past ten years, as everything else in american life seems to push towards more concentrated power
in fewer hands the internet has been the one development mitigating against it. it is disruptive and empowering in a way few things are in 21st century american life and won't stay that way on its own. the history of technology getting back to literally thousands of movie studios and do it yourself radio stations, what starts out as disruptive becomes concentrated. as long as there are sites that empower users to create and repurpose and even copy there will be some piracy. the question is if that's the cost, is it still worth it? there has been a lot of news this week. slated to hold a hearing wednesday. the republican chairman decided to postpone it. he doesn't want flawed legislation taken up by the house. not including one of the most controversial provision which is would have allowed private parties to get the government to block sites using techno means. yesterday there was pushback against from the white house as they released this statement on
their bulldog blog. any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online senatorship. here is a response from rupert murdoch he sent out as a tweet. obama has thrown in his lot with silicon valley pay masters who threaten all software creators with piracy. all right. right now i would like to bring in alexis who is a co-founder. and richard cotton, executive vice president and general counsel for nbc universal. thank you for joining us. richard, you have been working on this issue for quite a while. p internet terms. >> yes. >> i want you to explain -- your coming from a different place than i am, i think. i want to you explain what do you see as the core issue and particularly because we have legislation right now, dnca, that does provide some protection force copyright holders. you have to have a -- an employee, right, whose job it is
to supervise copyright infringement and put up. that person is -- contacted and have to take it down. if not, they can face sanction. what sit about the current regime you think is insufficient that necessary estates new legislation? >> so let's take a big step back. what is it we are talking about? we are talking about jobs. we are talking about websites that are wholesale and i repeat the word wholesale devoted to theft. to stealing content and -- that is the -- production of our creative industries and distributing illegal counterfeit goods that are produced by iconic u.s. brands who have devoted themselves to and producing innovative products. these sites are exclusively that this legislation is devoted to are outside the united states. so what this legislation is addressing are websites, as i say, wholesale devoted to illegal activities that if they were in the united states would be subject to criminal prosecution and to shutdown.
this legislation would not affect a single site in the united states so to mention u.s. site affected by these -- this legislation is wrong. and it is totally wrong to say that a single post or a small amount of the legitimate activity would be threatened by this legislation. so the -- difficulty with the policy debate is that we have to separate out what the legislation actually does. and what is of extraordinary amount of disinformation that has been distributed about -- >>s in terms of what legislation does, saying this wouldn't affect a single u.s. site, there -- you run a u.s. site and there are all sorts of people that run -- bunch of companies that run u.s. sites and you say of course this would affect it. >> but, chris, seriously, that is wrong. and the problem with this debate is that this -- >> making it up? >> yes. >> why are they making it up? >> this legislation is devoted exclusively to foreign sites. that -- look at the legislation. it is devoted to foreign sites. saying that without it affect the u.s. site and categorically
100% wrong. >> i want to you respond to that since you run a u.s. site and you clearly disagree with mr. cotton. >> what troubles me is that, for instance, the policies would -- the site users can post content that can be deemed illegal if it is instruct something one how to get around as a matter of fact -- >> that's simply wrong. >> furthermore, the -- bigger problem i have here is that this legislation will not only break the internet but it won't even work to curb piracy. i'm a businessman and entrepreneur. my best interests as someone working on a book who wants to protect copy vit they come up with a solution that actually works. i believe innovation, not legislation, is the solution. >> i want you to pursue this. i mean, i have read some legislation. i have been through the managers amendment which came out of the house. i have read interpretations by harvard law professor. >> if you read the legislation you know it applies only to foreign websites. >> no. that's not true. >> that is true. >> no. >> that's what it applies to.
>> but -- you are saying that there is -- when you say you are going to cut off, you know, blocking, you can cut off mastercard, right, to a certain site. >> after a judge ruled that it is wholesale devoted to illegal activity. only wholesale devoted to illegal activity outside of the united states. >> but if that's -- okay. if that is the case, if your interpretation of the law -- i have read the legislation and i have read law professor's about legislation. if that's the case. if that's the case. what is the nature of the massive -- what's the goal of the disinformation campaign that unites all the people that i have cited and google and facebook and all these companies that have -- that might have domestic sites that are located in the u.s. what's the motivation to lie about this to get this stopped? i just don't understand there is this contention about what actually the interpretation of the law provides. you are saying it is clear as day. does not apply to you. >> if that's the case, why is everybody wasting their time? just makes no sense to me.
>> well, i do think that what lies behind it is that there is a policy disagreement. and the question that -- big issue here is, in fact, about the rule of law on the internet. the internet is very young. it has grown up with a certainty that literally anything goes. and over time, you cannot have something that's the pillar of 21st society. just rampant with lawless activity. and so what we are -- what the -- accurate policy discussion is how you actually go about reducing the amount of illegal activity on the internet. and what i would say is there a philosophical disagreement. the -- question is for a site that is wholesale devoted to illegal activity, should we allow easy access to those sites? and what i would say to you is when they are outside the united states and not subject to our criminal enforcement, we have to use technological tools. and those technological tools do involve, as you have said, trying to cut off the financial
support to sites that are wholesale devoted to illegal activity and trying to make it difficult to access sites outside of the united states and that are wholesale devoted to illegal activity. >> i think the question is, is making the change to the architecture internet to prevent what you are saying, what are the inconsequences of that architectural change. wane alexis' response to that after this break. if you're one of those folks who gets heartburn and then treats day after day... well that's like checking on your burgers after they're burnt! [ male announcer ] treat your frequent heartburn
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as you can tell from our programming this is a hotly dispute pd piece of legislation. the white house has had concern about it. richard cotton from nbc. i want to you answer that question. why -- are you misinformed? i mean, why are you -- what is your concern about the legislation if as mr. cotton says it -- only applies to foreign sites? >> first i want to make a note the internet is not a lawless place. the ncaa is -- has been used, has been working and in fact, it
has been of use in certain instances where warner brothers, for instance, is you take down files you never saw. but what we are talking about with this current legislation, with the protect ip, the equivalent of it is the equivalent of being angry and trying to take action against ford just because a mustang was used in a bank robbery. this is not the proper course for dealing with piracy and won't solve the problem. >> why won't it solve the problem? there are are a bunch of arguments they make. one of them is there's -- different levels of the argument happens. the pragmatic argument is, okay, fine, we agree and i think i'm just talking for myself here. it is a problem that there are websites you can download these things. that's a problem. they say it won't solve the problem. why will it not solve the problem? >> pie wassy a service problem. companies, successful game company, solved the problem in a notoriously bad markets ever, russia. by offering a service that was more valuable to people than piracy. it is a service problem. >> what do you mean by service problem?
>> it is -- it is simply because pirates can deliver something easier than you can get it otherwise when you have to wait three months to get access to something. when there are barriers to getting information, getting the content you want, people will go through other means. if can you provide a service that's actually better, you can win with business. as an entrepreneur -- an opportunity. >> let me respond to that quickly. because that -- people make that argument and that argument seems dubious to me. in the era of when file sharing exploded with college dorms downloading, a strong case to be made a lot of what was happening was convenience. i don't want to buy cds and burning them. i have a high speed connection and and can get it. what happened since then, you can get most of what you want, right, on the internet? right? there are -- that convenience aspect to me seems greatly -- in a world we have hulu. there's innovation on the part big company medias and you can watch "lazy sunday," iconic saturday night video 7 million
times on youtube which precipitated -- you can watch it on hulu. that convenience seems -- a different terrain now. >> wholesale fever, lit undercut the very innovation you are talking about, chris. >> continue. >> actually to go back to the earlier point, what scares me most in the legislation is that the -- whatever they do is going to be circumvented anyway. the state department right now is giving people the same tools that would be used to circumvent dictatorial regimes in places like client a. the tools people are using now -- technical. blocking. country like china, would be used in this exact same instance to circumvent legislation. >> this cup, you talk about losing jobs here. you have to -- government accounting office that last year. they looked at this. they cannot substantiate any evidence that this has had an impact in job. in fact, the industry, media industry, entertainment
industry, has grown since 2007. piracy is rammant overseas. this piece of legislation is the right step in the wrong direction. if you look at another bill out there, open bill, which really goes after those websites yefrs through the itc, both parties can go before for both parties can have their side listened to and strangle it is money that goes to them like we did wikileaks, that's the way to begin to think about this. >> i want to give you a chance to respond to that. we are going to take one break and come back. [ coughs ] what is this shorty? uh, tissues sir, i'm sick. you don't cough, you don't show defeat. give me your war face! raaah! [ male announcer ] halls. a pep talk in every drop.
older americans relatively speaking are doing okay. even in these hard times. that's because of social security. which is not a ponzi scheme. it is not bankrupting us. it is not an outrage. it is working. all right. we are back with richard cotton from nbc universal. i want you to respond to what alexis was saying and former congressman sestak said about alternatives to this and efficacy.
efficacy problem strikes me as fairly fundamental. the economists when writing about this issue compared it to the war on drugs. sort after squeezing the balloon problem. you can -- increased the amount of money we spent on drugs but the fact is there is a demand for and it just moves around. particularly given the way the internet works and the -- is this -- why is this going to be effective if -- other things haven't been? >> all law enforcement is cat and mouse. the fact is the good guys do certain things and the bad guys try to evade it. that's not a recipe for doing nothing. if you hear about a burglary in your neighborhood, your reaction is not let's shut down the burglary unit of the police department. you want the burglary unit to get a little but better. so all of this is, it is a first step. it is not a silver bullet. by the way, piracy is never going to go away. but right now it is rampant and it is out of control. the websites talking about offshore. 100% devoted to illegal activity. they are undermining our jobs and economy and our key businesses. what we need to do is take some
steps in the -- in the -- in the netherlands, by the way, there's a court order to block access to the pirate bay traffic to a decline 80%. didn't go away. it declined 80%. so the fact is that there is no silver bullet but we have to start down the path to make it more inconvenient to get stolen content while everyone is trying to make it convenient for consumers to get legitimate content where they want and it when they want and it how they want it. >> this analogy of the neighborhood is interesting because i'm imagining it like we are about to obliterate the neighborhood that just had a burglary. the tech sector. one of the healthiest parts, whether it is a start-up like google or facebook, start-up here in new york working on a general assembly getting started, they are creating jobs in this economy. >> this legislation would not have a single impact on all of that. >> well, there's a lot of concern about liability costs. >> there is no -- legislation specifically says there can be no secondary liability. the only thing that can happen
pursuant to a court order is that an ad network, credit card company, search engine has to responding with respect to a specific site that has been adjudicated by the court to be wholesale, be wholesale -- no, the only thing that they have to do is -- >> that's not enforceable provision. if all you have to -- raise and it say google, deal with this -- >> that's -- >> we are not going deal with anything. >> they have to do that. that's a specific action required by a specific court order and after a judge has made a full finding with all due process protections in place. >> i want to return -- i'm going to -- thank you for your time. i really do appreciate it. alexis, thank you. it is a really important issue. it is not getting enough coverage. i want to return to it in the future and have you both back. bernie sanders joins us coming up after this. [ male announcer ] how about we make a big change
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from new york, i'm chris ace. jack abramoff, the author of "capital punishment." katrina, my boss at the nation magazine. joe sestak. bob herbert, longtime "new york times" lump mist. worked there 18 years, not 27 as i said in the beginning. important note. all right. you just had a really fascinating conversation about the very contested piece of legislation called the stop online piracy act. and -- the reason that i think it is sort of relates interestingly is that it is a piece of legislation in which on each side of the battle there are very large interests. commercial interests. on one side, it is sort of --
oversimplify it, pits northern california versus southern california. silicon valley tech sector versus the l.a. content movie studios. these battles get waged in congress. and where people are lobbying. and one of the tools that they use in their lobbying -- they can raise money. so we have been talking about money and politics with jack abramoff, knows a thing or would about the topic. latest fcc disclosures in the final three months of 2011, president obama raised $42 million. $220 million for 2011. romney supporting superpac called restore our future. crossroads plan to raise hundreds of millions more. most eye-popping number from the fund-raising numbers came from a senate massachusetts race. elizabeth warren raised $5.7
million compared to $3.2 million by scott brown. the u.s. chamber of commerce pledges to be significantly involved in that race. on friday warren left a voice mail message for brown asking him to enter into and quote enforceable agreement that would keep outside groups out of the race. this is shaping up to be the big money story this year. the roles. we are seeing superpacs with which have been produced by two supreme court court decisions, first citizens united. the role of superpacs they are spending more money than the actual campaigns. as someone who is an expert on the political economy of influence, what -- what do you think that the -- the role of superpacs be and how will it affect that political economy? >> well, think you we see what they are doing already. you can see we -- republican party primary where superpacs came in and basically neutered newt. you know, middle of his iowa run. and now they are trying to do
the same back to romney. and i think we are going to see every level, anybody who can play, who wants to play is going to be able to play. a lot of money. >> keep -- walk us down the line. we are seeing superpacs in play for presidential but they could play -- congressional. the thing that is terrifying to me, there is a -- political scientists, political scientists who talk about the iceberg theory of money and politics. influence is much deeper than what we have see. perfect example of this in the world of the superpac you have been talking about the carrots you can hang out but there is a stick. right? congressman sestak has a bill before -- stop online piracy act. he is deciding how to make up his mind. if you voted for the bill, my superpac will run $10 million against you in your district. now, i can walk out of that room and -- there is no money changing hands. i haven't even given him a donation. but that -- that threat now hangs over every single interaction that happens in washington. >> you see it in the warren/brown race. the threat is there that --
the -- sort of third party force in this country to chamber of commerce is threatening to come could in. i wrote a column at the beginning of this crazy primary season, chris. and everyone is going on about iowa, iowa. i said there are three things to fix. power of superpacs. not just at the presidential race. at the congressional race. and in terms of the media. because the media, which is not in great shape, it will love the billions of dollars that will pour into the coffers. there is a conflict of interest. the other is voter suppression. then the media. call to balance and false equvalence. we talked about president obama's fund-raising figures. i mean, at least out of the white house, there's some talk about fighting for disclosure which isn't enough. the democrats who are in this arms race, at least 200 of them, are fighting for fair elections. >> wait a minute. >> there are two republicans -- >> everybody is doing this.
the state -- the corporations are doing it. >> not at the same scale. >> everybody is -- hundreds of millions. >> two labor unions will put inasmuch as goldman sachs. >> everybody is doing it. this system for everybody. nobody is an angel here. >> are you -- you have -- are you for amending the constitution to overturn citizens united? >> absolutely i would. yeah. i think the general -- my belief, is that if somebody is trying to get something back, contract and -- relationship with the government or something, they should -- >> should not. >> putting a dollar in. corporations to me is a -- problem here. you can't pierce some of these veils. you can't see -- >> i think both sides are just wrong in how the system is set up. no one is an angel on the whole. >> no one is perfect. you know. but to get to talk to myself,
wait a minute. let me take the 32 co-sponsors of the bill that rick was defending. they took four times the contributions from the entertainment and media industry than they did the internet. take my case, when i ran, you know, the last election, it is only my fault that i didn't win. i'm accountable. i got that. it was the biggest gap in funding on ads. 11,000. hi run against my party. i wasn't quite able in that race to garner support afterwards. did it have an impact? yes. did it cause my loss? no. i should have figured it out. adding to one side or more than the other of the damage that is done by this. that's why the public feels the way they do and lost the trust. >> we are -- with all of this money in politics now, and it is overwhelmingly on the corporate side, although i believe that -- you know, the rules should apply to all.
it would apply to labor unions as well. but this is about the -- power of corporations over almost every aspect of our lives, lies. the power of corporations to undermine our democracy which they are succeeding in. i think it is interesting. in the book corporations are not people. jeff clemens, leading the effort to overturn citizens united. constitutional amendment. he talks about the -- face-off between two republicans, supreme court -- two conservative supreme court justices allegedly conservative, and lewis powell on the one hand and william rehnquist, both appointed by richard nixon and powell led the -- the fight to have corporations to have the same rights as people, free speech rights. william rehnquist said that's just nonsense. rehnquist who i hardly ever agree with foresaw the idea that if you gave this kind of power to a corporations which would give them the power to unleash, unlimited amounts of money in
our political spere, it would undermine the democracy supposed to be run by the people. >> one of the interesting things you bring up in the book, jack, when you are talking about these reforms, when you talk about this idea that if -- if a company -- has a contract, can't give money, it is all given by the employees. that's a convenient fiction. wilmer hale, if they raise money for someone, individual attorneys. my understanding of current jurisprudence, up can't give money if you have a government contract requires a constitutional amendment. that's my understanding. i'm not a lawyer. there is a case in -- north carolina that has to do with lobbyists giving money. they have lobbyists giving money in the north carolina legislature. survivored in the fourth circuit basically the dashesens of -- many parts. one of them is if you -- mick a choice where you are going to be allowed -- somebody that's getting something, that's a choice. choice you give up a right. >> the white house can also pass legislation, i mean, if a --
government is doing business, with a contractor, the contractor would have to disclose who it is giving money to. white house can do that. >> white house right now is -- is considering an executive order that would require businesses with government contracts. >> to disclose. >> i'm in favor of disclosure. all the transparency and information, there's so much. people can't -- >> first step, triage. >> i agree. people who are on the bad side of this use that and say throw everything out there. sort it all out. >> i'm going bring in vermont senator bernie sanders to talk about this topic right after we take this break. [ male announcer ] in blind taste tests, even ragu users chose prego.
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i would like to bring into the conversation independent senator from vermont, bernie sanders, joining us for the first time ever. thank you, senator, for getting up and joining us. senator, i want top ask you, you have proposed solutions to this. i would like to hear what you think some of the solutions are for both the general problem we have been talking about with jack abramoff here and also the post citizens united problem of money in politics. >> let's be very clear. if you are concerned about the collapse of the middle class, if you are wondering why the united states is the only country in the industrialized world not to have a national health care program, if you are asking your self-ys we pay the highest price in world for prescription drugs or why we spend more money on the military, all the rest of the world combined, you are
talking about campaign finance. you are talking about the unbelievable power, big money interests have, over every legislative decision made in the house and senate and now what you are talking about is horrendous situation made much worse by citizens united. withsy sense united now, what you'rely ta lly -- you are talk about politicians being adopted, if you like, by corporate interests or very wealthy individuals. becoming wholly owned subsidiaries of very wealthy entities. furthermore, what people i think do not fully perceive about citizens united is that it is going to make a kind of nervous senate and house even more nervous when they come up to vote on an issue dealing with wall street or the insurance companies or the -- they are going to think twice. if i vote this way, when i go home in a few days, am i going to have millions of dollars of ads attacking me for that vote.
so no question in my mind that what we need to do is pass a constitutional amendment, ted deutsche, of florida in the house and i, i think -- introduced that amendment which essentially overturns citizens united and says the very radical statement that corporations are not people and congress and state legislatures have the right to address campaign finance reform. >> senator, i want to -- i want to sort of play this out with you because let's say that given current -- we are at place we need a constitutional amendment. dylan ratigan has been talking about. in order to get a constitutional amendment you have to create a public consensus around the issue. it seems to me if you make the argument about campaign financing in terms you made it which is that listen, if you want social democracy you need campaign finance reform. that's not an argument that's able to marshal the level of consensus necessary to get a
constitutional amendment passed which isn't just about the highest bar -- is just about the highest bar we have. right? >> no. i strongly disaee with ygree wi. i think when you are a progressive, whether you are a democrat, but but, in fact, many, many republicans are profoundly disgusted with what is happening in washington. they understand. people may have an honest differences of opinion. they understand that there is something wrong with american democracy when you have a handful of billionaires, when you have karl rove, when you have the brothers putting hundreds and hundreds of millions dollars into the political process. very few people i know think that has anything to with american democracy. i think that, in fact, this becomes an extraordinary opportunity for grassroots organizing. this becomes an opportunity for city councils to begin getting involved, making demands on congress, state legislatures, voting on this i shall pup we can educate and organize
millions and millions of people to say we have got to restore democracy in america and we can't have a handful of billionaires controlling the political process. >> i am jack abramoff here. he wants to respond. >> actually, in -- i never thought i would say this but i -- i generally agree with the senator, senator sanders, on some of this stuff. but i think, again, as we said in the last segment you have to remember this is not just a bunch of right-wing billionaires. george sorrows, labor unions. lot of people with money in the system. the more we make this about conservatives of the bill, and this one, i think we are never going to get anything done. one of the things i'm trying to do, personally trying to work with the reform groups now, and trying to lead them as a former lobbyist and somebody that knows the system, how to get things through, to a point where consensus can be reached among conservatives and among progressives and if that doesn't happen nothing will happen in this. let alone constitutional amendment. >> i want you to respond to
that, senator. >> well, i think that -- jack makes a valid point. no one is suggesting the democratic president and others are not going to be involved in super facts. superpacs. the evidence is the republicans will benefit from it. it was, after all, mitch mcconnell pashgts of a brief supporting sit sense united. this whole process stinks. we have to do everything we cannot only to overturn citizens united in a bipartisan way but you have to go further. and i think what you need is public funding of elections. we have to restore the belief in the american people that ordinary people who are good -- have good ideas, can stand up and talk to their fellow citizens, get elected and based on those ideas. based on the support they have and not on big money. >> i think that -- key thing here which is that -- katrina, wane to you speak to this. the perception that battles in washington are not won on the
merits, right, that's the fundamental issue here. which is that there is something -- stop online pie was yig act. at the end of the day, we are going to come together and the -- the decision just will not be issue on the merits. issue based on who has the most -- >> no. i mean, good morning, senator sanders. we were talking earlier in the context of abramoff's career about the problem that there is a view government is rigged against ordinary people. you have all these special interests. but i wanted to ask you, i mean, you have worked diligently on behalf of the middle class, on the most vulnerable in this country. senator sanders, people who are committed to taking back our government, have you gone on the floor and read letters from your constituents about heating oil problems, about their -- what if a group transporters -- group of senators and congress people went on the floor day in and day out and just talked as senator durbin did in a moment of honesty about how the banks own this place and gave examples. examples of what was going on in
the congress. and i think that it would move people to say look, there are people inside this house who are speaking for the american people but also expose and maybe avert the chilling freezing impact you are describing that's so dangerous about what might happen if the chamber of commerce threatens someone. >> i think that's an excellent point. i have done that, read letters from my own constituents, we asked constituents in the state of vermont to tell us what does the recession mean to you ask the stories that came back to me were so painful that it was literally hard to read more than three, four of them at the same time. and i read some of those on the floor of the senate. other members have done the same. so i think that's a good idea. what we have to remember, we are counter a mass media television newspapers which go a long way to deflect the tension from the collapse of the middle class and increase in poverty. how much discussion has there
been in the media about the fact that we have more people living in poverty today and what that means than ever before. what does it mean? how many americans even understand we are the only nation in the industrialized world without a national health care program. 45,000 americans die every single year. so going on to the floor is, i think, a very positive thing to do. and i think it does connect with ordinary people but more importantly, we are going to have to definitely a bipartisan political movement which says you know what, this country -- people fought and died for democracy and we have a great document called the u.s. constitution. we cannot allow five supreme court justices to tell us that corporate interests can control the political process. >> senator sanders, joe sestak wanted to add something. >> senator, i think that you are spot on with this proposal. you should go for it. although i don't like changing the constitution just -- both
sides have always said here is why i want to change it. that said the constitution already says we the people. not we the corporations. what about a piece of legislation in a pragmatic way that congress could say okay, the people of the corporation who own it, shareholders have to vote for where the money will go. and improve the ad. we already passed legislation that says the shareholders should vote on compensation, for example. so why not a practical solution like that right now. >> senator sanders, i want to get your response to that right after we take this break. bernie sanders from vermont will be back with us after we take this break. [ female announcer ] lactaid milk is easy to digest.
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have to at the very least vote on -- sign off on any political expenditures. what do you think of that idea? >> i think it is a great idea. look, did i'm a stockholder, if i have money invested in a corporation, that corporation is spending money and -- against something that i believe in. do i have a right to voice that concern? of course i should. the other things that you can do short of a constitutional amendment, for example, is if i put an ad in as a candidate, an ad on television, i have to say that i'm senator bernie sanders, i approve this ad. there's legislation out there right now that we can't get any republican support for to say that if the ceo of bank of america is putting money into an ad, let that ceo -- i'm the ceo of exxonmobil, i approve this ad. the third thing, of great concern, by the way, is that if you have companies in this country that are controlled by, say the chinese government, chinese money, right now they
can play an active role in putting ads on television. most americans think that would be a crazy idea so we want to make sure that in a certain level, foreign interests are not intervening in american politics. >> senator, i agree with you that unique bipartisan support if you are going to succeed with the constitutional amend. what's the argument you make to ordinary citizens who are conservatives, republicans, on behalf of the amendment? >> why should they support it. >> well, by the way, right, by the way, john mccain the other day -- i don't know if you noticed that, said that he thought citizens united was one of the worst decisions he had ever seen. and that's a good start. i think that the answer, bob, you give to conservatives is to say, you know, you and i may have a disagreement. i think you will agree with me that it is absurd that any
individual, entity, you don't like trade unions, well, they may give me or put millions of dollars into an ad. do you really believe that that's what the democracy is supposed to be about? i think once you get outside of the beltway and you talk to ordinary people, many tea party people, they will agree, they are a grassroots organization. many of them are working class people. i suspect many of them will not like the idea. do not like the idea that a handful of billionaires can control the political process. so, bob in that sense, i'm not quite sure that the argument of conservatives ordinary working class conservatives is a different argument that could make the progressive. >> i want to thank independent senator from vermont, bernie sanders for taking the time to join thus morning. i really appreciate it. hope we can have you back. >> thank you. ♪ you're singing with a broken string ♪
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c'mon, michael! get in the game! [ male announcer ] don't have the hops for hoops with your buddies? lost your appetite for romance? and your mood is on its way down. you might not just be getting older. you might have a treatable condition called low testosterone or low t. millions of men, forty-five or older, may have low t. so talk to your doctor about low t. hey, michael! [ male announcer ] and step out of the shadows. hi! how are you? [ male announcer ] learn more at isitlowt.com. [ laughs ] hey! talking politics. we had senator bernie sanders from vermont. we are looking at the filings
and elizabeth warren has a very impressive -- one of the things that's inning, campaign committee, progressive group, obviously -- interacting with one of the people that worked there. they were noting that they raised $600,000 from her for her from about 31,000 grassroots donations. that's an average donation of $19 a donation. and i think one of the -- one of the things to think about is i think there is a sense in 2008, particularly with the amount of -- first howard dean in 2004, obama in 2008, in which you saw the average donation go down because of what the internet allowed people to do. but you could beat big money by democra democra democratizing. i'm curious what you think of that. it seems to me like that may work for a cycle or two but particularly in the citizens united world, it is unclear how unsustainable that is as the model we will use to deal with the problem. >> that is the model. as we were talking about the
amendment and how difficult an amendment strategy is, though it is important to educate mobilizing people out there, we need to walk and chew gum at the same time. part of that is fighting for clean elections. the small donor politics. and i think that we are seeing the 2008 was a little bit of a mix, you know, mixed bag. you know that. president obama based a lot from big donors but the hope is small donors. in the end it is about voice and power. it is also about -- let's be honest. we need a powerful movement so it is not just about process. because i think a lot of people's eyes glaze over. as we were talking about we can see so many scandals that there is a growing awareness, transpartisan, democracy is at risk, whatever we have left. and our -- system -- you know. i think it is important that people understand, chris, that there is on the floor of the house a piece of legislation called clean fair elections now. and that around this country p
new york city has a great 6-1 match. arizona, vermont. >> 6-1 match. explain what that means. if a candidate raises small amount he will get -- he or she will get $100 in matching funds for each -- each increment raised. you know what it has done in the city? it decreased the power of lobbyists and of those businesses which have contracts with the government, with the state here. and it increased the power of grassroots givers and citizens in this state and brought in progressives and other -- independent minded people very good point. >> i would add also to this elizabeth warren is elizabeth warren. she was stomped on. boy, $600,000. i would have used some of that. $50,000 but again, this was someone who had -- attractive figure and had a message that could get out. and getting that message out if you are not elizabeth warren, still takes -- it does -- time and effort to get that attraction to what you say.
so to change the law like you said and permit these types of things, i think is the way to make. >> it i think people don't realize -- jack, i am let you respond in a second. i think people don't realize i had a friend that ran for congress. completely eye opening for me. even though at the point he ran for congress i had been a political journalist for a while. i was covering campaigns and talking to people. but to watch it from the inside, someone going through it, i mean, what you do is 90% first 95% is, raise money. you sit in a windowless office in a room with numbers and your campaign manager tells you hit the phones and you call people and get money. last 10% is buy a bunch of ads. >> unless you are self-funding, and while you have a wealth gap between congress and the rest of the country, lot of it has to do with growing wealth cap growing money. >> make these calls upwards of 11:00 at night on the phone. when the lawyer walked in i would get his empathy vote. boy, you called late last night. we, i'm working hard for you. i should have been dog-legs.
i should have been talk -- representatives. >> the bottom line is i agree. and -- my approach to this is, again, based on if you are trying to get something back from the government shouldn't be allowed to get. but sort of this conversation reminds me of like i want to lose weight but i don't want to go to the gym. unfortunately politics now in america, let's talk about reality is. reality is you have to raise money. all right. the question is -- is there going to be public financing. that's the ultimate question. >> yeah, yeah. >> folks, i'm sorry to say that there's a -- entire half of the conversation here, at least republican service, just totally against it. it is not going to happen. >> can it be brought around? >> no. >> they don't want -- number one, they we don't more government expenditures, period. >> let's note, tiny -- >> they don't believe the state should be taking people's money and giving to people running for office. there's a fundamental philosophical underpinning of the argument. jeffersonian argument that's -- someone should not be compelled to give money to something they
don't believe in. it happens to -- compromised in an argument they are not going to agree. they are not going to agree. if they are not going to agree, we can say maybe one day, okay, but today we need to find things where the right and left can agree. and i have been on about 300 talk shows since my book came out. >> i see now why you were so effective on capitol hill. >> after citizens united decisionition came down, polling showed independents, republicans, democrats, 70% across the board felt this was -- terrible decision because -- >> very unpopular. >> power of corporations was already felt in people's guts as too overleaning, too dominant. by the way, on the process issue, what i'm talking about is the need to win money. to the fact that miners died in mines. how are you going to communities and point out you are living in insecurity and in poverty or living in places where mines
don't have regulations and the money has rolled back and regulations that would save lives. you have to take it out of the process and -- that's what movements are beginning to do. >> talking about this morning says that ordinary citizens don't matter. they don't have a voice in the process. we don't have a real workable democracy anymore. unless you take that enormous corporate money out of the equation, it is that -- that's not going to change and you can't get all that money out and if you yoo overturn citizens united. >> or buckley versus -- to go back to original sin. speech is not money. money is not speech. that's a broader conversation. >> look, that's where conservatives and progressives are not going to agree. conservatives basically feel that's a tentative -- speeches, money. every express one does with one's possible eggs is speech. >> how do you deal with -- >> two hours arguing. i'm saying that -- i was a lobbyist. lobbyists are bottom-line guys. one thing that remained -- most has been flushed out of my body
but one thing that remained is the practical approach to politics which is what is achievable? what i'm trying to do, focus the groups i'm working with, which, again, are reform groups and everyone on this -- let's get something done. this conversation will go on for two decades and nothing will get done. >> democrats that don't want to change the system. all that said, real issue here is the third branch of government. judiciary branch. it has basically said that public financing and senator mccain before feingold and tried -- tried to take changes where tissue is going to lie. >> i'm glad you are playing judiciary. one of the things i find confounding, if one's analysis what happened in america the last three years, inequality, power, political economy, has to do with the system of campaign funding. i think one of the things that con found that analysis is that the fact that the supreme court, i don't think it is corrupt in the way that congress is. i mean, those are arguments that are made in a context where --
there isn't money being changing hands. not the same kind of lobbying. those are ideological decisions made with a -- big interest. i think when we think about what our analysis of change requires, i think that that -- fact that the supreme court played such a central role con found a little bit of what -- >> i wouldn't be so sweep being that because if you go back to lewis powell, where all of this really started, a guy who was effectively a lobbyist on behalf of corporate interests. >> it is so important. i would say accepting a decision go to war. that the senate's most important digs who goes to the supreme court. they affect the character of america and long generations more than either one. citizens united. >> what you should know for the news week ahead coming up next. you know when i grow up, i'm going to own my own restaurant.
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what should know for the week ahead. right now it is time for a preview of "weekend with alex witt." >> there is an incredible story under way. rescue efforts for survivors in that tear firing cruise ship accident. there are remarkable stories emerge thing morning from the moments right after the crash. you will hear some of those stories in just minutes. also, reports today that mitt romney reached into his pocket during a campaign event and handed a woman some cash. apparently she told him she was jobless and broke. former party chair's howard dean and michael steele will give us their take on whether that's unusual. plus, he is making a third party run as a libertarian gary johnson will tell us what impact he thinks he can make on the 2012 presidential election. >> did that romney thing really happen? >> yeah, it did. it is a weird story. >> i will tune in to find out more about it. what should you know for the week come up? this will be the most expensive campaign in history which isn't
in and of itself a bad thing. you should know also clear this early juncture most of the money will be spent by superpacs that can raise unlimited amounts of money and face loose disclosure requirements. you should know that just in time for martin luther king day tomorrow, interior secretary ken sals cz salazar. you should know the quote as currently appears reads -- i was a drum major for justice peace and righteousness which makes king sound uncharacteristically like a bit of a bragger. but you should know the entire quote is that if you want to say i was a drum major, say i was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness which sounds a lot better. south carolina prepares to hold the primary on saturday, you should know a new poll from james carville and stan greenberg's pollinging from democracy core founded if ron paul ran as a third party candidate the result would be obama 43 and romney 4 34, paul at 18%.
you should know that mitt romney bigwigs know this and you should know this is the reason despite the fact paul sargably romney's biggest rival for the nomination you will not see mitt going after the congressman. you should know americans elect important committee to nominating its own establishment friendly candidate has nearly $30 million in cash from undisclosed sources but can't seem to find candidate. you should know it is a strange conception of what ails americans democracy but then thinks the solution is bunch of wealthy people getting together and pooling their money to draft a fellow member of the power leaf to run the country. go to one of your favorite websites this wednesday. discover it has gone dark, you should know it may be because it is shut down for 12 hours to protest. lit go dark and the wikipedia founder hopes to join the protest as well. this kind of protest sun precedented. it represents an interesting moment in our poll when internet business essay pier to be gaining their own kind of class consciousness. you should know a federal judge
refused to add rick pair write and three others to the virginia primary battle after they failed to meet election criteria. you should know it is getting harder and harder to imagine a scenario in which that matters given romney's strength. you should know the white house is considering an executive order that will require federal contractors to disclose their elector am spending as a means of transparency in the post citizens united age. you should also know shockingly big business is pushing back hard. you should know spending on federal contracts was over half a trillion dollars in 2010 or 4% of the entire gdp and you should know the top 100 contractors are also some of the country's biggest firms. you should know in the wake of a book about her marriage to the president, first lady michelle obama is now on twitter. you can know you can tweet to her @michelleobama. [ male announcer ] to the 5:00 a.m. scholar. the two trains and a bus rider. the "i'll sleep when it's done" academic.
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guests are back to tell us what we should know this week. start off with jake abram hof. >> i think they should know, going into south carolina, more and more of the evangelical grassroots are coming up in favor of romney. notwithstanding efforts by the leadership to find an alternative for romney, rom mi is starting to capture a lot more of the vote. >> you think he's going to be the nomination? >> absolutely. >> was that the case from the beginning? we debate this in staff meetings all the time. is it -- overly cynical to say it's sewn up and not covering the momentum or are we playing along with this theater that will result in the romney nomination snoo. >> probably the latter. he has the organization rg the money. he's the republican party traditionally nominate the person in the lead. he's an acceptable person who is not making a bunch of gaps.
maybe he makes a few mistakes. but they're minor compared to what newt is doing. >> it's all relative. we do a segment where the guests ask a question for the sunday shows. we were in fascinating conversation of online piracy. >> i was going to ask newt what party he was running for at this point. he's come out with anti-intellectualism approach and attacking romney's multilingualism. i was going to ask him [ speaking france ] with romney you speak french, you were raised in france. what's going on here? >> i hope that goes you-tube in viral. >> what should people know? >> that steve colbert will continue to beat jon huntsman in south carolina.
united for the people.org and check out what's going on on the week of the anniversary of citizens united. january 20-21st. occupy the courts, occupy congress. building on the 99% movement and occupy wall street. i'd add one last thing which is of new year's gift to this country but relates to what i think will be coming in this next period, which is the montana supreme court, we were talking about conservatives and citizens united. the montana supreme court as a new year's gift to the nation decided they would uphold the ban on century's old ban on corporate spending in state elections. i think we see out of that the possibility of an appeal of what we spent a lot of time talking about citizens united. >> i was talking with a political scientist who studies -- she was talking about the corruption in montana at the turn of the century around
senatorial elections going into capitol hill. it was a state legislature and handing out bags of cash. it was a well-known thing. this was how it functioned. a long history to that. >> and a conservative one in the sense that teddy roosevelt was one of the fathers of banning contributions. >> i was in center county yesterday in pennsylvania. the senator of the keystone state who delivers the messages for washington, of two million jobs that have been created in the last 12 months. almost all of them were created by small business. what i noticed the other day is that the small business administration was raised to a cabinet level by the president to propose. i also noticed as we talked here shall the government accounting office did a study that said the vast -- the majority of all of the set asides for small businesses are pass throughs
through fake small businesses that go to corporations. i go back that the star running back for this economy is small businesses. i was vice chairman as i mentioned of small business community. i could do that as a freshman because there's no pac money for the engine of our economy. >> bob herbert? >> i'll stay on the jobs theme. those encouraging job numbers from december may not be the start of much of a trend. i would keep an eye on it because a lot of those jobs were temporary and had to do with the holiday rush season. i would keep an eye on the weekly claims, unemployment claims and i would see what's happening with consumer spending going forward. we may not be cause for optimism as much optimism as we thought. >> that's good advice from bob herbert. don't go long, stay short and stay ahead. that's the message. i want to thank my guests.
jack antibiotic move and katrina, former congressman joe ses tack and bob herbert. thanks. i really appreciate it. one more thing to mention it's our director nick's last day. nick has been with us since we launched the show, has been a big part of the team. heading back home to london. we'll miss him very, very much. we couldn't have gotten the show off the air without you. thanks, nick, for all you've done for us. we hope you'll still watch from across the pond. we're on five hours later there. you can sleep in. thank you at home for joining us. we'll be back next saturday at 7:00 and sunday at 8:00. our guests next week melissa harris-perry and cnn host himself eliot spitzer. for details, check in with us at up.msnbc.com.
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